7 Key Features Your HR Software Must Have In 2017

Building a custom HR software? Get to know the areas to address this year.

HR departments are facing new challenges this year. Millennials now comprise the majority of the workforce and keep re-defining the employment norms and company’s cultures. Standardized managerial practices are no longer working as good as they used to, especially with distributed teams. Annual evaluations are now ditched in favor of peer-to-peer reviews.

Administering all those processes on paper or using multiple tools is no longer a viable option. To cope with organizational change HR leaders are already leveraging new-gen technological solutions.

How Can HR Software Benefit Your Company?

Josh Bersin, Principal Bersin by Deloitte, has created the following chart illustrating the evolution of software for human resource departments:

evolution of HR systems

The evolution of software for HR mirrors the changing approaches to personnel management and corporate philosophies.

Back in the old days, best HR software was expected to perform the basic functions such as:

  • Digitalize hiring and legal documentation.
  • Create standardized compensation & rewards forms.
  • Offer a fair, point-based employee performance evaluation.
  • Track individual progression and movements within the company.

HR management software used to me aimed at maintaining a well-organized record system within the company. Yet in 2017, managing a successful team goes beyond merely recording an individual’s progression and issuing salaries on time.

In late 90’s, Millennials have entered the workforce and in 2015 they replaced Gen X at the desks:

Labor force by generation

By 2020, millennials are expected to constitute 50% of the global workforce. If you have already dealt with this generation, you do realize how different their perception of employment is.

Just in case, here’s a quick recap from the latest Deloitte survey:

  • In 2017, one in four Millennials plans to quit their job and join a new organization; or do something different.
  • By 2020, the number of “quitters” is expected to reach 44%.
  • Most millennials don’t feel particularly loyal to their current employer. 71% of employees in the UK expect to leave the company within 5 years, and 64% will do the same in the US.

To retain those workers, standard HR practices are no longer enough. That’s why talent management has become an industry buzzword in the past few years.  Winning the right talent has become tough in most industries, and HR departments are now seeking more insights about their teams.

As Anne Robie, head of human resources at StubHub pointed out:

“From an HR perspective, we’ve sort of been in the dark ages. Data helped the rest of the business leapfrog from a strategic standpoint. The next frontier is in regard to human resources. I look at data in terms of performance management and how we’re thinking about our talent and who we think can be successful, and big data can help me predict who will be a successful employee”

Human resources software in 2017 should serve as a comprehensive solution that enables your department to balance the employees demands with the company offerings:

employees demands

Now let’s take a closer look on how that transforms into HR software requirements in 2017.

The 3 Categories of HR Software Applications

Conditionally HRM software could be grouped into the following categories:

  • Employee benefits management software, which includes specific tools for creating and managing wellness/rewards programs.
  • Employee engagement software aimed at providing better feedback, learning opportunities and predicting the employee’s progress within the company.
  • Human resource information system that helps to maintain lifecycle records and comes with a dedicated self-service portal for the employees.

Consider these as new add-ons to your existing solution, which already includes a comprehensive HR payroll system; time & attendance/productivity tools and separate software for recruiting and assessing potential hires. Or the tools to incorporate in a brand new solution.

Now let’s move on to the specific features list for a new web based HR software.

#1 People Analytics

People Analytics

Most companies have already realized that their business success depends on the effectiveness of harnessing the employees’ data and building predictive analysis systems. To be precise, 77% of executives have rated people analytics as the key priority this year.

Data-driven decision making in HR has become possible thanks to developing technologies such as machine learning and new approaches to data analysis, including the emergence of Data Science as a Service – something Romexsoft provides for companies at different domains as well.

New-gen personnel management software can be now used to accomplish the following goals:

  • Leverage external employee data – for instance from social media; demographic and industry reports – to predict workforce trends and deploy razor sharp talent targeting.
  • Create predictive profiles featuring characteristics of high-performing teams.
  • Predict compliance and security risks.
  • Analyze individual and team engagement rates and work satisfaction.
  • Create predictive models for high-value career paths for suitable candidates.

#2 Continuous Engagement Management

Engagement Management

Lack of employee loyalty and overall dissatisfaction with the traditional managerial cultures has to lead the growing staff turnover rates across different industries. According to Quantum Workplace data, current employee engagement has reached its lowest point in eight years.

Arguably, the easiest way to regain an employee’s interest is to continuously ask for their feedback and input on improving the company’s culture and managerial standards.

That’s exactly how human resource management software can help your company to retain staff. In terms of technical features that could be transferred to:

  • Deploy smart “employee listening” tools such as anonymous ratings, pulse surveys, regular feedback check-ins by managers.
  • Gamification tools encouraging employees to recognize achievements of others; track bonuses for peer referrals, spreading company’s news and encourage proactive idea sharing.

#3 Online Professional Trainings and Access to Learning Materials

Learning Materials

Most employees today have to resort to obtaining professional training from 3rd party services and various MOOCs.

The modern worker demands continuous learning options, which are also tailored according to their individual schedules. Yet, the majority of businesses are still lagging in this domain with only 37% of companies reporting that their educational programs are truly effective.

Your bespoke software can leverage the insights you have already gathered about your teams and utilize those to create customized learning materials for different teams and individuals, along with standardized assessment tests that should be completed.

  • Incorporate mechanisms for reinforced learning through peer-to-peer interactions.
  • Allow users to block time off their work schedule for self-education.
  • Send reminders and invectives for completing a new course available.
  • Offer mobile access to the learning platform.

#4 Redefined Performance and Team Management

Part of the appeal of working for new SaaS companies and startups is their innovative approach to managing talent.

team management

As the data points out, most millennials workers are now seeking better life-balance and an improved feedback loop from employees. The essential managerial processes within teams have changed too as the diagram above illustrates.

A lot of HR software, however, fails to adapt to the current agile landscape. Team management is now more dynamic. One person can be re-assigned to another project or be part of multiple teams. The way goals are set, tracked and managed has changed as well.

A comprehensive HR tool should now address the following needs:

  • Offer transparent goal setting and tracking functionality, with both individual and team progress being measured.
  • Simple check-in functionality for managers.
  • Built-in online assessment help tools for managers that assist conducting personality assessments; managing difficult conversations and provide better data for decision-making.
  • Pre-made, data-driven development plans created based on the experiences of other people holding similar roles.
  • Progress tracking and assessment mechanisms that go beyond merely calculating employee’s desk time.
  • Integration with personalized task managers for each employee that suggest optimal productivity schedule and daily activities.

#5 Improved Employee Review System

review management

Most companies still use Bell Curve for assessing the employee’s performance. Or merely pit the employees against one another; and afterward put them on a performance curve, where folks in the low part get penalized.

Yet, labeling your employees with numbers does more harm than good. In the past few years, the percentage of companies using a forced-ranking system has declined from 42% to 14%.

HR software has some catching up to do in order to correspond to the modern assessment standards:

  • Establish a more comprehensive mechanism that would take various factors into account during the annual review such as – employee performance (achieved goals); capabilities (skills developed; courses takes); career (their current progress within the role measured); connections (relationship with their peers and managers).
  • Compensation performance decisions should take multiple factors into account including labor market changes; the person’s contribution to the team’s success; financial and operational achievements, along with other variables.

Again, a comprehensive HR tool that already gathers advanced analytics about your team could deliver those insights immediately on a larger scale and make the decision-making process in this case less biased and more streamlined.

#6 Advanced Security


An “average” cyber hack and data leak costs a company approximately $15.4 million, not to mention the reputational damage. Employee data is as valuable as your customer and financial data. Hence you shouldn’t neglect to protect it properly.

At Romexsoft we suggest implementing the following security measures for your HRIS:

  • Allow users to authenticate access to corporate data only through approved Single-Sign-on (SSO) provider.
  • Enforce module access that would allow recruitment personnel to access only to respective blocks of information and functionality.
  • Selected menu access depending on the user permission/role.
  • HIPAA compliance and full data encryption.

#7 Integrating Independent Contractors and Freelancers

Integrating Independent Contractors

By 2020, freelance workers will dominate the workforce in the US. Today, over 53 billion of Americans have already chosen to work independently instead of seeking traditional employment.

Progressive companies including Dropbox, Basecamp, and Buffer are already functioning as distributed teams. HR departments are now tasked with the need to integrate part-timers and independent contractors into the organizational culture and managerial workflows.

Again, technology comes to the rescue. Here are some HR software features worth integrating in order to accommodate the contingent and freelance employment:

  • Mobile time tracking, scheduling and reporting tools for working with an on-premises team e.g. maintenance.
  • Creating a talent record of freelance service providers that could be hired based on the company’s current needs.
  • Simplified onboarding, compliance training and education for contract workers.
  • Simple payroll integration designed specifically for contract workers.

The Year of Change in HR

A modern worker doesn’t want to be merely administered. Companies leading the way in HR are now deploying a more comprehensive approach to managing the personal starting with efficient onboarding; continuous employee engagement, improved talent management, backed up with smart data insights on every step.

A comprehensive HR software should correspond the processes shift and empower better decision-making within your department. Romexsoft would be happy to advise on implementing innovative functionality, backed-up by our strong technical expertise and continuous approach to web development.

If you want to develop a custom HR software but don’t know where and how to start don’t hesitate to contact us!

Written by Romexsoft on February, 2017

Romexsoft We are Romexsoft – agile Java software development and Managed IT Services provider from Ukraine. We track all the latest tech trends and love to share industry insights and best practices learned from own experience.
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